Classifying and Coding Online Actions

Eszter Hargittai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Research on how the Internet is diffusing across the population has broadened from questions about who uses the medium to what people do during their time online. With this change in focus comes a need for more detailed data on people's online actions. The author provides a method for coding and classifying users' online information-seeking behavior. The author presents an exhaustive list of ways in which a user may arrive at a web page. The proposed methodology includes enough nuanced information to distinguish among different search actions and links. In its entirety, the coding scheme makes it possible to understand many details about the users' sequence of actions simply by looking at the spreadsheet containing the information proposed in this article. The author also demonstrates the utility of this scheme with findings from a study on the information-seeking behavior of 100 randomly selected Internet users to exemplify the utility of this coding and classification scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-227
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Classification
  • Coding
  • Internet
  • Methodology
  • Online behavior
  • Web

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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